Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent on Sunday 1,141 by Poins

Posted by Uncle Yap on January 8th, 2012

Uncle Yap.

This puzzle did not leave me very happy as I couldn’t see the word-play in 23Across and took ages to stumble on the conjointed INTO in 29Across. Not a very satisfactory state of affairs for a Sunday puzzle which should have broad appeal like the Observer’s Everyman and the Sunday Times Cryptic.

ACROSS
1 FACE PACK Once you remember that the Akela is the leader of a pack of Wolf Cubs (junior Boy Scouts), the cosmetic answer should come naturally
5 VERSUS V (first letter of Voting) + ins of S (son) in ERUS (rev of sure, confident)
9 IN NO TIME Ins of NOT in *(I MINE)
10 PINION OPINION (view) minus O (last letter of flamingo)
12 CINCH C (circa, about) INCH (measure)
13 AIR POCKET cd
14 BRACES BRACE (two) S (shilling)
16 POINTER PO (river in Italy) INTER (bury)
19 REMAINS Ins of MA (mother) in REINS (cheks)
21 FALLEN Ins of ALL (everyone) in FEN (marshy land, bog or slough)
23 CAST ASIDE The def of this clue seems quite apparent. However, I was foxed by the word-play until Jon Delfin, an American friend came to my rescue. C = key + ins of ID (identification papers) in Ilie NASTASE (Romanian tennis star of the 70’s) minus N (name) This is far too opaque and convoluted for a Sunday family puzzle.
25 SEDGE S (south) EDGE (border)
26 EMPLOY EM (rev of ME, Poins, indicated by left?) PLOY (cunning plan)
27 AGRARIAN Ins of GR (George Rex, king) & A in ARIA (song) + N (new)
28 SHRINE SoHo *(ERIN)
29 STOPPLES Ins of TO PL (power line) in PE (physical exercises) -> TOPPLE in SS (on board ship) The def, PLUGS IN is conjointed with TO (part of the fodder before power line) to produce an answer that is a singular verb. Somehow, I felt this device is too obtuse and obscure, almost unfair for a strange word (new to me) marked rare in Chambers

DOWN
1 FLINCH Ins of L (middle letter of Helen) in FINCH (bird)
2 CONUNDRUM Ins of NUN (sounds like NONE) in COD (hoax) + RUM (drink)
3 PITCH P (pressure) ITCH (long)
4 COMPASS C (college) OM (Order of Merit award) PASS (die)
6 EDITORIAL EDITH (girl) minus H (first letter of happy) O (over) RIA (rev of AIR, broadcast) L (learner, student) with (newspaper) leader as def
7 STICK dd
8 SANITARY *(ARTISAN Yard)
11 TRAP T (first letter of the) RAP (rev of PAR, norm)
15 CHINATOWN CHINA (friend from MATE of rhyming slang connection) T (time) + ins of W (women) in ON (middle letters of Bonn) Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir film, directed by Roman Polanski from a screenplay by Robert Towne and starring Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and John Huston.
17 TREADMILL Ins of *(MADE) in TRILL (rapid alternation of notes) Chambers give TRILLO as “a rapid alternation of two notes a tone or semitone apart, commonly ending with a turn.” Has Poins made a mistake seeing TRILL for TRILLO ? Apparently not as the def for TRILL is n a trillo; a tremulous sound; a run or roulade of birdsong; a consonant sound produced by vibration.
18 CRACKERS Ins of ER (Elizabeth Regina, the Queen) in CRACKS (attempts)
20 SHIP Ins of H (Henry) in SIP (dispatch)
21 FREIGHT Ins of RE (middle letters of Florence) in FIGHT (box)
22 TENNIS Ins of ENN (east, north, north – three points on the compass) in TI (rev of IT) + S (second)
24 SUPER Ins of P (penny) in *(RUSE)
25 SHARP dd

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

4 Responses to “Independent on Sunday 1,141 by Poins”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, UY, and Poins for the puzzle. I found it quite hard but this is not in itself a bad thing in a weekend puzzle that one has a few days to solve. My favourite clues were VERSUS and TREADMILL where Collins dict gives ‘trill’ as a rapid alteration of notes as used in the clue.

  2. Ian W. says:

    I don’t routinely do the Indie on a Sunday, but if this is typical I might start doing so. Unlike you, UY, I was delighted to find an alternative to the simplistic Everyman (followed inevitably by the even worse Rufus on Monday). This was still a gentle solve but exercised the old brain a bit (it took some time for Nastase to come to mind). Good job, Poins.

    P.S. Not remembering much from my Cub Scout days, I thought first of Kipling when I saw Akela.

  3. Uncle Yap says:

    If the same puzzle were to appear on any weekday in the Guardian, Times or Independent, I would not have quibbled as that level of difficulty is to be expected.

    My own experience of life in UK is that the Sunday cryptic is often a shared experience in many households with family members shouting out clues and everybody participating while waiting for say, the Sunday roast. Many a future Peter Biddlecombe have been nurtured from such scenes.

    Even when I was a student in the UK, the Times puzzle was done privately by me; but on a Sunday, all 5 of us, housemates would share the puzzle and shout out the answers as if in a competition.

    As an Indy subscriber, surely you have had your fill of difficult puzzles on weekdays from the panel of distinguished setters such as Monk, Nimrod, etc. How is the newbie in your household catered for? Since Quixote, the Sunday Indy is just another random Indy weekday.

    Ian, if you are still looking for more ungentle solves on a Sunday, go to Mephisto and Azed. Please do not begrudge the newcomers a simpler and more gentle puzzle once a week. We were all newbies once.

    In newspaper publication, critical acclaim is not the only criterion, sometimes popular box-office may be more important to sustain the continued well-being of the paper

  4. caretman says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap, for the explanations. Like you, I found this challenging for a Sunday, especially after having been away from puzzles for a while. I finally solved 23a after rejecting TOSS ASIDE, but it was a case of guessing the answer and working back how it could possibly arise from wordplay. Fortunately, I’m old enough to remember Ilie Nastase; he may be obscure for younger solvers.

    On 29a, I considered the possibility that Poins was cluing TO by ‘into’. I could sort of come up with an example where the two could be used interchangeably: ‘turn water into wine’ vs. ‘turn water to wine’. If that was the intent then one wouldn’t need to split ‘into’ to ‘in’ and ‘to’ for the wordplay. But I wasn’t very thrilled with that explanation since in general there’s a difference in meaning between ‘into’ and ‘to’ and cluing one by the other seemed strained.

    Minor note: on 20d, you meant to write ‘SIP (drink)’ rather than ‘SIP (dispatch)’.

    Thanks, Poins, for the challenging return.

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